Having someone to talk to @_sarahalliday

By Sara Halliday

Alex Mecklenburg, let me count the ways that I respect you. I had a coaching session with Alex last week, and in her words – it was helpful. Coaching is an odd one, not something I would ever have sought out on my own accord, particularly at this point in my career. I figured that coaching was something that thirty-something men did, maybe men who worked in recruitment or sales, men who post on LinkedIn. You know the type.

I didn’t think it would be something I’d do. A 22 year old creative. In the attic of a church that used to be a nightclub.

I can’t really remember much of what we spoke about. I remember that I was a bit nervous, not knowing Alex that well, but I wanted to embrace the session. We spoke about partnerships mostly, something which has been playing on my mind for a while. About common goals, and aligning aims with your partner-to-be, and I can say that my session with Alex has fuelled some really interesting chats with my probable partner.

I’ve heard coaching referred to as career counselling, and as someone who isn’t ashamed to say that I’ve had ‘proper’ counselling, it was a bit different. It was nice though, nice to have someone to talk to. Someone who had an impartial hat on and wasn’t afraid to push me to think about things myself.

I have a naughty tendency to ask lots of questions and give few answers, I think it’s something I’ve spoken about before. Probably makes my interviewer role for our documentary a good choice, but makes sessions like this annoying for the coach. I kept falling into questioner mode, asking Alex for her opinion on things like where to find value in life. When the questions were posed back at me I found answers that I didn’t know my mind would come out with.

We rarely appreciate how much we think about on a daily basis, and how few of those thoughts make it out of our mouths. I definitely hadn’t realised how many things had been compartmentalised in my head. Worries, fears, and anxieties, all tucked away for a later date. Probably tucked up for a time when I’m lying in bed and even my cat is asleep. Talking to Alex wasn’t so much about having a certain problem I wanted solving, it was more about allowing my mouth to vocalise things that my head had been thinking for a while.

Alex asked me what my ultimate goal was. I answered, “to be happy”. A noble aim, and a goal to live by, but if I were to rate it on the sticky scale it would score low for concreteness. My task moving forward is to work out what exactly it is that makes me happy. People often say that you should find out what makes you happy and do more of it, so here is an off the top of my head list of some things that make me happy. If you’re ever looking for me, I hope that I’ll be doing one of the following:

1. Hot baths (really hot)
2. Writing poetry that people will never read (Deanna, I’m going to come to one of your spoken word nights – I promise)
3. Cooking elaborate recipes which need a niche ingredient that you go to three shops to find (Ottolenghi I’m looking at you)
4. Walking in the snow when everything is crisp and silent
5. Learning about obscure or random historical events. My current fascination is The Great Exhibition of 1851 in Crystal Palace
6. Watching the sunset at the beach near my house in Wales
7. Browsing bookshops or libraries, neck crooked in that ‘looking at things on their side’ way

… the list goes on, and every day I’m finding new things to add.

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